All posts by Waverly Hart

Surround yourself with different opinions

 At The College of Wooster, you will meet someone you disagree with. Most of these disagreements will be superficial, from what meals you enjoy, to what sports teams you support, to what your favorite Shawn Mendes album is. Some of these disagreements, however, will be much more near to you as a person. Your political beliefs, your faiths, your least favorite Shawn Mendes album, your very way of life: they will be challenged. And it’s scary. Coming from a school where 95 percent of the student body were white men who practiced Catholicism — though I was myself Puerto Rican and not practicing any religion — I was in for a culture shock. And in response to these new stimuli impacting your life, I will give you advice I wish someone had given me: use this time to find and develop yourself.

You will find that you are surrounded by 500 or so people who are most likely just as unsure of the world around them as you. It’s daunting to go out and meet just one of those people, and even then, you probably will not stray from your comfort zone in terms of who you hang out with. That is why I want to challenge you to do just that. Explore your new surroundings; engage in discussions; go out and mingle. Let me put it this way: if you went to, say, Japan on holiday, and then spent all of your time in your hotel and the local McDonald’s, you would be blowing an opportunity to learn something about a culture you have no idea about.

I understand the fear that to express yourself in a world that’s foreign sets you up for failure. “What if I’m wrong, and what if people hate me for it?” you most likely ask yourself. That’s right; I’m psychic. Anyway, I want to let you in on a secret: it is a-OK to be wrong. If you are discussing a sensitive topic with someone, and you say something that you may not have even realized is wrong, it gives you an opportunity to learn. For certain topics, race as an example, your first instinct is to avoid discussion, and to give lines such as “I don’t see race.” But when you don’t see race, you choose to not see the perspectives of others who, because of the color of their skin and all that comes with that distinction, have experienced a different world than you. That goes for all identities, for all belief systems and for all topics you may try to ignore because you were afraid.

Throughout however long you spend here — be it four years, one year, six years or anything in between — you have a prime opportunity to develop not only your resume, but your personality and world experience. If you are to do anything for your time at Wooster, it should be to challenge yourself. If you don’t change, you are just a high schooler playing adult, and no one wants that.

 Brandon Borges, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

Be considerate towards staff

 The first few weeks of the new semester are always a whirlwind of catching up with friends, starting classes and getting organized as we make ourselves at home in Wooster. Amidst all the chaos of a fresh year, it can be difficult to be mindful of all the moving pieces at work to make our transition back to school smooth and comfortable. Behind the scenes and right in front of us, staff members work hard every moment to keep our campus clean and beautiful, feed us and make it possible for us to focus our energies on our education and our relationships with each other. At the beginning of the semester, it’s important to make commitments to actions that will ensure we are being as good of friends to our staff members as they are to us. 

When it comes to moving in, keep containers and furniture out of hallways. Large boxes should be broken down and taken directly to the recycling bins outside, and trash bags from dorm room receptacles should also be deposited in the dumpsters instead of hallway trash cans. Make sure to take note of when the bathrooms on your floor are cleaned and to stay out of the bathrooms during those times. Excess paper towels and toilet paper belong in the trash and not on the floor. 

In Lowry, pick up after yourself — it only takes a few additional moments to wipe fallen food onto your plate, return condiments to the storage rack and move tables and chairs back to their original spots if you rearranged them. If you spill food as you are serving it to yourself, clean it up, even if it creates a momentary pause in the line. 

Outside, avoid walking on the grass or in the flower beds and remain on designated pathways so that the efforts of the grounds crew can continue to flourish. Clear the way when a grounds crew vehicle has a job to do and a place to be. 

Most importantly, say “please” and “thank you” in every interaction you have with a staff member (and every interaction you have with other humans in general). Say hello, ask how their day is going and learn names if you can. Participate in activities meant for thanking our staff and showing them how much we appreciate everything they do. There are opportunities all around us to get to know the people we live and work at the College with — when you’re getting food in Lowry, buying coffee in Knowlton, Old Main or the C-store between classes, walking across campus or simply spending time around your dorm. They are as much a part of our experience here as we are of theirs.

 Claire Wineman, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

Catholic sex ed is anything but “universal”

 Content Warning: This article contains reference to sexual violence.

 When I was a freshman at a Catholic high school in Scottsdale, Ariz., I sat down for my second semester of theology class. At this time in my life, I had little to no knowledge about abortion, birth control or even the basics of sex ed. With so many impressionable minds, the theology teachers went to work ingraining victim-blaming and body-shaming into the developing brains of 14-year-olds. 

Within the first weeks of class, my teacher began a tirade on Planned Parenthood’s history, with unfounded claims that it was built solely upon racism with little interpretation for a gray area. She continued throughout the semester to fill our brains with horrific stories of healthy, crying newborns being thrown into trash cans and how fully formed fetuses are cut up after birth. After everyone was thoroughly traumatized by Planned Parenthood’s supposed atrocities, she went to describe her own sex life (or lack thereof). As a 32-year-old woman, she had only ever kissed a man once, an event over which she still felt extreme guilt and expected us to feel the same. For weeks, she went on to explain how queer people are born for celibacy and she would be happy to direct us to her “Gay Best Friend’s” blog that discussed that “lifestyle.” 

As a junior in high school, I sat in my health class as we began our discussions about sex — namely celibacy. From behind me, I overheard a sports team talking about rape. These boys had determined that “rape was a girl’s fault” and that “if women didn’t take actions to protect themselves, they were asking for it.” I turned to them and demanded to know how they would feel if it was their sister who had been raped. A hockey player, louder than all the others, turned to me with a smirk and casually responded, “then she should have been more careful.” 

Their words were scary — even terrifying — only worsened by the complacency of the substitute teacher who allowed the boys to mock me when I told them that they were wrong. 

It is one thing to perpetuate victim-blaming rhetoric, but after this interaction, I heard from multiple girls that those boys had raped them when they were heavily intoxicated. The culture of victim-blaming that exists within religious schools, particularly Catholic schools, is a direct detriment to vulnerable young women. 

The building of this prejudiced culture is constructed. It has not appeared from thin air, but has been constructed over a period of years. According to University of Georgia professors Kathrin F. Stranger-Hall and David Hall, “the US is ranked first among developed nations in rates of both teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.” As the government invests more in abstinence-only education, these rates continue to rise. It speaks to a larger systematic issue that sex education is not mandated in twenty-four of fifty states. Sex education is not about promoting promiscuity, but about encouraging conversations about safety. Conversations about consent, STIs, and desire do not equate increased rates of teen sex, but more education has been proven to result in less teen pregnancy and STDs. 

At fourteen, I had every reason to believe these theology teachers who fed me propaganda year after year. After all, they were the adults and I was the child. Throughout my three years of Catholic school indoctrination and two years of reflection, I have come to find my own thoughts and educate myself, but not everyone has that opportunity. Contrary to abstinence-only teaching, conversations foster lower teen pregnancy rates and less sexual violence. When I see former peers, I see the damage it has done manifesting itself in a cycle of abusive relationships and internalized queerphobia. 

As an adult, I wonder: what are the consequences for this generation that grows up surrounded by a culture that continues to give credence to the exclusionary philosophies of their former years? 

From my years at Catholic school, I know that the word Catholic directly translates to “universal.” I pose a question to the Catholic community: what kind of universality exposes so many communities to the vulnerabilities of misinformation? Does it bother you? It should.

 Amber Rush, Viewpoints Editor for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

Changes made to Dean of Students staff

 Samuel Casey

News Editor

 As students get settled in for the school year, they may have noticed some changes to the Dean of Students Office. On Saturday, Aug. 24, Dean of Students Scott Brown sent out a campus-wide email regarding these staffing changes. Shadra Smith will serve as interim associate dean of students and dean for the class of 2023; Ashley Benson will continue as associate dean of students and dean for the classes of 2022 and 2021; Mitch Joseph will support the class of 2020 as interim assistant dean of Students; Myrna Hernández has been hired as associate vice president and senior associate dean of students.

According to Brown, there will also be some changes to the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI).

“During this interim period, Dr. Ivonne M. García, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, will oversee the CDI staff and the Center’s operation, as she leads the campus in the execution of the College’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan,” Brown said.

Smith, who has previously worked as Associate Dean of CDI, will still maintain a presence by supporting first-generation and low-income students which Brown says will “streamline her case management of the first-year class.”

Joseph has also held a different role at the College — director of student rights & responsibility — which he will continue along with his new duties as a class dean.

When asked what landed him in the new role, Joseph said he expressed interest to Hernández after finding out Assistant Dean of Students Lisa Steffensen was leaving. “We discussed availability, work-load and other obligation along with how it would work out with Students Rights and Responsibilities. In a lot of ways, we decided that the position worked out to be a good fit,” Joseph said.

Joseph added that his role as director may change slightly as to avoid any conflicts of interest, but overall, he states that having this dual-role will ultimately help streamline the process. 

“There were already going to be a few changes to our methods of resolving conduct issues for this year, but this helped solidify some of those more informal styles of resolution,” Joseph said. “There may be a couple larger cases that could potentially come down the pipeline that I’m in a role where I’ve supported the student(s) in my role as dean. But in those cases, I’m working out a plan to hand over reins of the situation to one of our other conflict resolution officers.”

Hernández arrived in Wooster over the summer after spending 13 years at DePauw University, most recently as dean of students, and was drawn to the personal relationships that are built on campuses the size of the College.

“When I visited Wooster, it was clear that these relationships were important to students, staff and faculty,” Hernández said. “It’s also a beautiful campus with a really strong sense of its institutional identity.”

Additionally, one of her goals is for students to take advantage of the office hours the deans are holding as well as a weekly lunch. Brown sent the office hours in another campus-wide email on Friday, Aug. 23 and listed the locations for the lunch on Wednesdays.

“We really want folks to come by and introduce themselves regardless of whether or not their specific dean is at lunch or hosting the open hours on that day,” Hernández encouraged. “As a dean, my primary responsibility is that of an educator; I’m here to help students learn how to navigate the challenges associated with going to college in general, and more specifically, at The College of Wooster.”

Steffensen, who has accepted a job as dean of students at Roane State Community College in Tennessee and whose last day was Aug. 28, reflected upon her time at Wooster.

“Wooster has the most amazing students who have impressed me time and time again,” she stated. “They are smart, resilient, dedicated and passionate about changing the world for the better. Working with Wooster students has been an absolute pleasure.”

For parting advice, Steffensen offered that students should never be afraid to ask for help. “Everyone who works at Wooster works here because they want to help students be successful,” she said. “I also encourage students to be kind to each other, to be supportive of one another and to help each other — it’s so much more fun to cross the finish line with a great group of friends.”

New student orientation restructured for Class of 2023

 Bijeta Lamichhane

News Editor

 New student orientation for incoming first-year students living in the United States took place from Aug. 18-20 this year. For international students and global nomads, however, it was more extensive. Their move-in day was Aug. 16 and their ARCH, ARCH 5, took place that evening and the next day on Aug. 17, a day before the rest of the first-years officially moved in.

The orientation this year was structured differently from orientations in the past, specifically for the purposes of promoting better interaction and integration of domestic students with those from other countries.

“Due to the large number of entering international students and the desire for them to integrate and make friends with domestic students as soon as possible, we decided to incorporate International Student Orientation into New Student Orientation,” Jill Munro, director of  International Student Services (ISS) said. “[The international students] arrived on Friday and began ARCH 5 that evening. Saturday was ARCH 5 and Sunday was the day ISS focused on information which international students need specifically (e.g. regulations, getting to know ISS staff, a tour of the Wellness Center and getting to know fellow international students). They then integrated into the first-year class after move-in and participated in New Student Orientation on Monday and Tuesday.”

The orientation was also restructured this year to provide the students with a smoother transition into the College. Last year, international students had to attend orientation immediately after landing in the United States, and there were complaints about students not getting enough rest after fifteen-hour long flights. It has been reported that there will be a change to the structure to better suit the physical and mental state of those first-years.

 “We know that many international students are jet-lagged when they arrive, and much of the information we think is important for them to know during orientation often gets forgotten by the start of classes,” Kendra Morehead, former assistant director of ISS, had reported in April, four months before the orientation. “Instead of asking international students to sit through session after session of information at the very beginning, we are splitting it up. There will be some important informational sessions, such as the F-1 Student Regulations session and a campus tour, during this ISO portion.”

However, it is unclear how the new structure aimed to achieve this, since first-years have reported that the orientation was hectic. International students still had to attend most of the events in the four-day long orientation. Moreover, this year, they were only provided with the option to ride the shuttle to College on Aug. 16. Last year, they were provided shuttle services two days prior to the orientation as well.

When asked about her experience in the orientation this year, Anuska Shrestha ’23, an international student from Nepal, replied, “It was fun, but I wish we had enough time to get over jet-lag. I have not had the chance to get enough rest until now, and since the classes have already started, I will have to push myself through the end of the week.”

While official surveys have not been sent out to students regarding their orientation experiences, ISS has already started thinking about improving the quality of orientation next year. Munro reported, “I think we will go back to a two-day arrival option as opposed to the one and we will have to talk about moving straight into ARCH when students are still experiencing jet-lag from significant travel times.”

In addition, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Ivonne García also commented on improving orientation next year. “This was my first New Student Orientation and International Student Orientation, so I’m unable to compare with previous years. That said, I will be participating in upcoming meetings with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion staff, as well as with Academic and Student Affairs so that we can evaluate what went well this year and what we can improve on for next year,” she said.

Returning students find storage units burglarized

The belongings of seven students were stolen from an East Side Storage unit during their summer break (Photo by Sadie Wittenberg ’22). The students returned to an empty storage; one student lost items totaled to at least $7,000

 Waverly Hart

Editor in Chief

 When Jerry Bronson ’21 arrived on campus ready to start his junior year at Wooster, he was not expecting to find an empty storage unit.

“I was at a loss for words,” Bronson said, recalling the moment he discovered his clothing, saxophone, television, keyboard and other items were gone. “My soul was crushed with feelings of despair, anger, frustration and, of course, confusion.”

Bronson and his mother arrived at East Side Storage, where Bronson shared a unit with with several other students, prepared to move all his items from the unit to his dorm room. However, when they saw his unit, they immediately knew something was wrong. 

“I noticed that our original blue and silver master lock was switched with another silver lock,” Bronson said. “The lock had the code written in pen on the back.”

After opening the new lock, Bronson discovered that his and the other students’ items were gone. When the summer began, the unit stored mini fridges, chests and over 50 boxes. The space was now completely empty except for a mirror and an ironing board.

When he saw the empty unit, Bronson spoke to Jon Hochstetler, the son of the owner of East Side Storage. According to Bronson, there was a noticeable change in Hochstetler’s disposition when he was told about the unit.

“His eyes dilated, he started to fidget his hands, he stuttered and his overall appearance shifted to that of a nervous child,” said Bronson.

In a video recorded by Bronson’s mother, Hochstetler states, “We didn’t do anything,” over and over.

The unit was shared with six other College of Wooster students, and they were all offended and shocked by the company’s callous response to the incident. 

“Losing everything already feels painful for me, but the treatment and feedback we got from the storage company was even more unacceptable,” said Muyao Li ’20, who lost items which totaled to at least $7,000. Among Li’s lost items were family belongings, notes and outlines for her I.S., textbooks, clothes and art pieces with special meaning. 

“They treated us like a joke, and laughed and smiled in our face about the situation,” Bronson said. “They had no empathy whatsoever.”

Yasmine Meadows ’21 also stored most of her things in the unit.

“When I moved to college I brought everything I owned, and now 80% of that is gone,” Meadows said. “The owner of East Side Storage was very rude and unprofessional … I believe that they are very inconsiderate and terrible businessmen.”

According to the police report, Bronson reported the incident on Aug. 5 around 7:33 a.m.

While waiting for the police to arrive, Bronson and his mother continued talking to East Side Storage staff. Hochstetler thought the incident was an inside job.

“Nothing else looks broken into, I mean it had to be somebody that was in that unit,” Hochstetler said in the video. “No, somebody had to have the code to get your old lock off and put that lock on.” 

The owner of the storage unit believed the person who stole all the items was someone who knew the code.

The East Side Storage staff continued to say they “didn’t touch it,” didn’t “know what happened to it,” and claimed “we didn’t do anything.”

The staff says they check on their units periodically, but they didn’t notice that the lock was different on Bronson’s unit.

“We have 500-plus units, I can’t check every lock,” Hochstetler said in the video. 

When called, one East Side Storage worker wouldn’t provide his name, but he echoed what Hochstetler said in the video.

“It was an inside job,” the worker said.

 When asked about what security systems are in place at the storage facility, he said, “Well, there’s a lock on every door.” He also said there are security cameras in other parts of the facility, but not where Bronson’s unit is. 

The worker said they are now looking into getting cameras for that particular area.

“We don’t want anything like this to happen again,” the worker said. 

He maintained that robberies like this haven’t happened at East Side Storage before.

“This was a very suspicious, isolated incident,” the worker said. “Even the police thought it was very odd. The police cleared us of any wrongdoing.”

 But Bronson believes East Side Storage was involved in the incident.

“They obviously know something about the issue,” Bronson said. “It just doesn’t seem right. All six students live outside of Wooster and there were about 50-plus boxes in the unit. It would be theoretically impossible for one of us to steal everything out of the unit.”

Yaz Nizar ’22 is another student whose belongings were stolen. He estimates he lost over $3,000 worth of things. Although Nizar and the other students lost a great amount, they have no way of getting compensation for their stolen items.

“Insurance is on an individual level, it’s usually covered by home owner’s insurance,” the worker said. The students did not have insurance for their items. 

Nizar is currently involved in a lawsuit against East Side Storage. 

The police are investigating the robbery.